W for Witch
As I am penning this post, I seem to have an allergy and I cannot stop sneezing. This the second bout of cold in 3 weeks and this could be due to the changing weather. Well, imagine if someone close to my family had come to believe that may be my excessive sneezes are the shadow of something evil that has got within me. Then, out of love, my loved ones take me to a Tantrik who blows dry pepper and chillies and I sneeze even more and then comes the reply – “I was right! There was an evil spirit and see it is reacting with my prayers.”
My example was a simple one. Imagine the plight of a woman who for not fault of hers is assumed to be bringing misfortune to a family or be the reason for another family member’s death or the failing crops as soon as she was married into another family and a drought came upon. She is then called upon a witch and believed to be practicing witchcraft. That doesn’t stop ; she is ill-treated, beaten, kicked and in extreme cases murdered over that belief. Many women have been killed till date because a majority within her society believed that they were responsible in many ways unnatural as prevalent around.
Not just in India but many other countries admit killings due to the belief in witchcraft. Uneducation, superstition, and faiths placed in the wrong place lead to such crimes and women and children are usually the victims. In tribal areas, there are women who claim to be witch doctors and are consulted for treatments like common cold, allergies, disability, infertility, desire to get married, and many others. These witch doctors have a team of their own and they even kill people (both men and women) who they assume to be a rival.
While Indian lawmakers are beginning to address such crimes, the reported cases are far fewer leading to a state where this has taken the shape of a crime which has no legal ramifications. Not for profit organisations are also playing a sensible part by spreading awareness, using street plays as a medium to talk about such practices in far-fetched areas but a lot needs to be done. In 21st century, where we use smart phones to looks up various alternate therapies for an ailment like common cold, blowing pepper and red chilly still exists.
I am blogging from A to Z during April (#404 on the list) and the theme I have chosen is set on women. Some of the posts will be here for you to know and some will be to reflect and accept. Share your thoughts and let me know how things are going. There is always a room for improvement.